I happened across an interesting article after clinic today, and I puzzled over it on my way to try out yet another burrito restaurant. I have to agree whole heartedly with the author. Blogs are fantastic launch pads for conversation, but could use some help supporting and enhancing debate. The development of discussions surrounding a post is limited by the community that a given article can reach, and is further hindered because conversation will not exist in a singular forum where it would have its fullest growth.
Instant messaging and forums provide the truest conversation, but like blogs related conversations still may not find each other to interact. Aggregated options like Friendfeed offer the greatest opportunity for interaction and growth of discussions, but they mismanage the chance to build upon blogs’ abilities to spark dialogue. Without building the appropriate bridges between items, places like Friendfeed become nothing more than a threadless inbox of content.
Conversations are streams and when you neglect their tributaries and distributaries you turn the stream into a pond. Sure when content is created within social aggregators the streams flow quite well, but the purpose of aggregators was and still is to pull items from across the web into one place. To really empower discussion, they need to aggregate into their site the comments and trackbacks along with the blog, allow for articles posted elsewhere to be linked to and designated as replies to existent blog posts, as well as allow for establishment within their site of real-time forums to discuss and/or interact with any content created or streamed to the aggregator. I think the foundation is in place to create something even more unique and powerful, but we aren’t there yet.